We do everything we can to keep traffic moving on priority roads and we are open about the fact we cannot grit every road in Lancashire. Even if we had the resources needed we couldn't grit them quickly enough to make a real difference.
No council does this. It is important people understand there are limitations to the service we can provide.
That is why we ask residents to take steps to make sure that when severe winter weather strikes they are prepared and able to manage.
Where we grit
In an ideal world our gritters would treat every road in Lancashire but in reality this is not possible due to cost and resources. Instead, we have identified the priority road network that helps keep Lancashire moving.
The priority roads for gritting and snow clearing include:
- Non-trunk Motorways and 'A' roads which are the main routes across Lancashire
- 'B' roads which are routes in and out of towns; roads which lead to hospitals, emergency service stations, main employment centres, and important public transport routes
- Single routes into villages.
We have also identified the second most important roads which we will treat during periods of continuous ice and snow, but only during daylight hours and after the higher priority roads have been cleared.
As well as our 58 gritters, we also have 50 hand gritters which we use to treat footpaths in severe weather conditions.
When we get a period of persistent ice and snow, we will treat those footpaths with the higher levels of use. These usually serve main shopping and employment areas, those adjacent to main hospitals and those that provide access to public transport interchanges.
Once these have been treated, the remaining footpaths and cycle routes will be prioritised and treated if we have the resources available. In icy and snowy weather consider if your journey is necessary and wear appropriate footwear with good grip.
Schools are classed as private grounds and gritting them is not a county council function. We do however give schools in Lancashire the opportunity to purchase grit from us at the start of the winter season.
Who grits unadopted roads
We are not responsible for gritting unadopted roads. If the road is on a housing scheme you should contact the housing office. You can also contact the district council for further clarification.
Who is responsible for gritting the motorways in Lancashire
Highways England is responsible for gritting the M6, M55, M58, M61 and M65 to Junction 10, the A56 between the M66 and M65 and the A585 between the M55 and Fleetwood.
When and how frequently we grit
During the winter months – October to April – we have up to 150 drivers on standby for a 24/7 response. We can mobilise up to 58 gritters and drivers at anytime during the winter. However, it can take our gritters up to four hours to grit one route and even longer in severe weather conditions. This means sometimes we can't grit as often as we would like.
Of the 4,300 miles of roads of which we are responsible for, around a third (approximately 1,800 miles) are part of our priority road network for gritting and snow clearing. In severe weather conditions, we rotate our drivers so we can keep the gritters on the road 24/7 if needs be.
How we decide when to grit
When low temperatures and icy conditions are forecast we grit the roads as a precaution before the frost forms, usually during the evening or early hours of the morning. Please remember weather forecasts are only a guide and our local knowledge and expertise is vital in deciding what to do.
It can take our gritters up to four hours to grit a route and therefore, it will take this length of time before some roads are treated. Despite our efforts, winter weather can still make the roads treacherous so never assume a road has been gritted and always drive with extra care.
If you see us out when it's not wintry
You may see our gritters out when it is icy or snowy. The gritter lorry beacons will be on when grit is being spread and switched off when grit is not being spread; the only exception to this is when a snow plough is fitted.
Occasionally, you may see our gritters out when it's not icy or snowy, this is because we have to keep them running regularly throughout the year so that they are not stood still for five or six months when they are not in use. These maintenance runs ensure our gritters are ready to go when the winter weather is forecast.
A day in the life of a gritter driver
Alan Croasdale, Highways Technician talks us through a typical day as a gritter driver.
Find where we grit
See our gritting map.